We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee. Marian Wright Edelman
Last night at the community garden volunteer training workshop we brainstormed how to get a neighborhood more involved. The Valencia Community Garden was established four years ago and the neighbors are still not working in the garden or participating in the monthly veggie of the month food demonstration or yearly taste-a-thon. I listen to ideas that sound similar to the ones we come up with every year at this training.
Early that afternoon I was the adult assigned to a table of four young adolescents in the youth summer gardening program. The tasks were to fry green tomatoes picked from the garden and to make a remoulade sauce. Two of the guys began the job of slicing tomatoes (carefully tucking fingers out of the way of the sharp knife) and then coating them with egg, flour, and a cornmeal mix. The only girl in our group took over the frying, diligently stirring and flipping the prepared slices. The youngest member of the group (whom I affectionately call Tigger) measured and whisked together the ingredients for the sauce.
There were no cuts, no burns, no big spills…and no arguments. All I really did was watch, amazed.
Hey y’all. Maybe we’re overlooking something here. For four years we’ve been grooming the next generation of neighbors. And they are very involved.
Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old. Franz Kafka
Yesterday I carried a Parker Palmer quote with me. In my head and in a little notebook tucked inside my purse. Thoughts about listening to my life came and went. About 8:30 last night I retrieved the notebook, set the timer, and began writing. The well-rehearsed thoughts were quickly noted, followed by pieces of ideas I didn’t expect. Whoa. That was cool.
So this morning I choose another quote. Not as much from my angst as from curiosity. What might I discover if I go to the gardens behind the art museum? Or visit my artist-in-residence friends downtown? Or pick up the book I was enjoying yesterday? Or work in my vegetable garden after yesterday’s storm?
I like the potential of this idea…
Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. Parker Palmer
I have been listening…trying one idea after another.
Yes you have.
But other people seem so certain about themselves.
Haven’t you felt that way before?
Yeah, then life steps in and mixes things up, leaving me with doubts and a shaky foundation. Then I wonder if I’m really who I think or say I am.
Who are you today?
A bunch of questions and ideas. Listen…I have this idea…I could write the Palmer quote in a little notebook and go about my day. A gardening seminar, lunch with a friend, some reading, a trip to the grocery store…and those words would be right there, like a foundation for the day. Pretty much what I do with this blog. But then tonight before I go to bed I’d do a timed writing going back to the quote as my topic to see what happened.
You know when I say these things out loud, they really sound silly.
Silly? It sounds to me like something you want to try. Go ahead and do it. Let me know how it goes.
Other people have other plans. I, the oldest child and only daughter, would say this to my mom when I was quite young. Was I trying to claim myself? Was I telling her I didn’t care how others did it? I don’t know. Our relationship was a constant struggle.
But I wonder now if it was my own personal koan, advice for myself to take me through life. The words to allow others’ their own path as I listen for my own. Telling me of ego, or spirit, or energy. Mine and everyone else’s.
I am a child of God. And so is everyone is, Laura.
In last night’s book club discussion of The Poisonwood Bible I read the quote from Leah, one of four daughters of a zealous missionary who took his family to the Congo. She said…
Watching my father, I’ve seen how you can’t learn anything when you’re trying to look like the smartest person in the room.
This is a quick post.
1. In a few minutes a friend and I are taking a day trip to a nursery (plants) a couple hours from here.
2. I’ve been struggling with a writing “assignment” providing copy for pictures on the website of our community youth garden. Just the facts are not pleasing me. I’ve submitted the idea for an alternate approach and am waiting to hear if I can pursue it.
3. Tonight’s the third anniversary of the library book club I facilitate. I want to get home from the nursery in time to make cranberry nut muffins for the celebration. This month’s selection is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I’m expecting a stimulating discussion.
And the quote for the day…
It’s good to be creatively busy. Me
After two nights of incredible dreams, I wake this morning anxious. The dream I remember from last night was a bummer.
Yeah, me being in charge and losing control. I hate that.
Well, I don’t like ending up in that situation.
Being in charge or losing control?
But I wrote about it in morning pages. Then I went to walk in the park. There was a lady walking her dogs and we began talking. Somehow the conversation turned to a man we have both known. She tells me he has control issues. I think about when I knew him and I feel empathy.
There you go again with that hmming. What are you thinking?
I was wondering what your “incredible” dreams were about.
Hmm. Well, things were kinda crazy in both of them, but it wasn’t all about me.
Does it help you to know you’re not that special?
Like Maurice Sendak says, “I feel extremely vulnerable.” Today’s his 85th birthday. Watch the animation on Google’s home page.
To write it, it took three months; to conceive it three minutes; to collect the data in it all my life. F. Scott Fitzgerald
Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills, or abilities – that’s training or instruction – but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed. Thomas Moore
I need projects in the summer when I’m without much of a schedule, so this month I am keeping a reflections notebook. My beginning teachers will do this next fall to help them self assess. I want to see how it works for me.
I note what I see and hear around me, what I think about what I see and hear, and how I respond. I try to go into each setting with beginner’s mind…to be open to what is.
Now is the time for new adventures. Tomorrow I will be in a sculpting workshop. A sculpting workshop! Yikes! Breathe, Laura… and pay attention.
I wonder what I’ll learn.